To mark the release of Typeform Connect, we’re interviewing our partners about the rise of integrations and teaming up with Typeform. To find out which apps you can connect to Typeform—or if you’re thinking of building your own integration—check out Typeform Connect.
How do you find out what your customers are saying about you?
Maybe you ask Customer Support for a report on user requests and pains. Or you could sift through the latest batch of surveys the product team sent out. The live chat agents from the Help Center will also have a few stories to tell.
That’s a lot of channels. And that ‘Master Feedback’ spreadsheet hasn’t been updated since December 2016. Whose job was that again?
NomNom is a tool that collects customer feedback from all channels into one neatly categorized feedback library. So you don’t need to worry about losing those survey results down the back of a server ever again.
We caught up with NomNom CTO and Cofounder Łukasz Korecki on partnering with Typeform, why integrations are in right now, and how it feels to go from developer to cofounder.
SD: They say that “feedback is the breakfast of champions.” Is that where the name NomNom comes from?
ŁUKASZ: So the name originally came from the fact that we just couldn’t come up with a good name. Then one evening we just said, “it just eats data, it nom noms the data.” And it’s stuck for the last few years. We’re rebranding and changing the name by the end of the year. But that’s the origin story.
SD: Why did you get into the feedback business?
ŁUKASZ: The original idea came from my cofounder Sofia. We worked together at Geckoboard here in London, where she was running the Growth and Marketing team. And she had a very simple problem: where could we look at all Geckoboard’s feedback from different sources?
They were using Zendesk for support, Intercom for in-app messaging, and Delighted for customer surveys. Turns out it was impossibly hard to get all of the data in one place. So there was no easy answer to the question, “What are our customers saying about us?”
“Feedback’s such an underdeveloped part of product thinking—no one thinks about it from day one.”
They’ll just say, “Okay we need something for support, and we need the ability to ask our users questions.” It’s like the feedback collection is implied. People concentrate more on the task at hand.
SD: So NomNom combines the feedback from all these channels into a more useful whole. Why do you think apps that fill the gaps like this have become so successful lately?
ŁUKASZ: For one, we’re getting better at building products for a specific purpose. Companies have figured out that they can build a product that does 80% of the job very well. And the 20% can be taken care of by the so-called ‘platform.’
On the other hand, it’s hard to build an app that does it all. You can run pretty much everything through Salesforce, but then the user experience is very complicated. Some parts of it work brilliantly, others not so great.
There’s also a massive trend of individual team members—or teams within bigger companies—that want to make their own purchasing decisions.
These trends are influencing people to buy tools that are great at doing one job very well. But then someone has to fill in the gaps by integrating the workflow.
It’s good timing to have all these trends coming together. In the early or mid-2000s the idea of a ‘mashup’ came out, but back then it was a curiosity. Now the same use case of linking apps together has emerged again, but it’s more business-driven.
SD: What benefit does the Typeform-NomNom integration bring to people?
ŁUKASZ: We automate a lot of the manual process for doing a deep analysis of survey responses.
To work with their Typeform results, people download them into a spreadsheet. And if you have an ongoing survey, that gets very tedious because you can’t export the data in increments. You can’t just get the responses from yesterday.
Our integration solves this. As new responses get added we’ll fetch those for you automatically. You can also tag them according to keywords without re-importing anything. So it’s pretty much fire and forget.
SD: Integrations are a staple of NomNom’s strategy. How do you choose which companies you want to connect with?
ŁUKASZ: The process is twofold. We always evaluate what our customers—or potential customers—are requesting. And we’re also tracking who’s the best in the game.
With Typeform, we knew it was a good tool that’s widely used by our target market for collecting feedback in different scenarios. So we initiated the discussion. Typeform was one of the first integrations that we launched, after Zendesk and Intercom.
So we pick the best solutions for our customers, and also look for partners with easy access to their APIs.
SD: How does Typeform’s API compare to others you’ve experienced?
ŁUKASZ: It’s been a cool journey. Typeform was one of the first integrations we did when we started NomNom around two years ago. So we’ve been through the platform changes, and I was in on the discussions about the new API.
Your colleagues from the platform team were reaching out early on saying, “This is what we were thinking about, will it solve your problems?” It was really cool to be involved in that. And it made it way easier to use as API consumers. All the features we needed to build our own UI, fetch data, and fit it into our model were there—not a single thing was missing.
“It’s hard to build a public-facing API. You will most likely get it wrong the first time. But when you’re building a platform, you really need to put a lot of thinking into it.”
Typeform’s API is very well thought out, and I can see how the team learned from the previous API. They’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to design the best one for outside users.
SD: Any advice for companies like Nomnom who want to use partnerships and integrations as a vital part of their business?
ŁUKASZ: Sometimes you have to think hard about what your customers really need, and listen to their feedback. Because it’s very easy to fall into the trap of, “we need to integrate with everything.”
There are integrations that I wouldn’t consider essential, but they solve a big problem for some customers. So from a tactical point of view, it makes sense to put the effort into building them.
At the same time, it’s impossible to build every integration. So you have to be a bit creative with how you fill those gaps. And sometimes you just have to make it up with product features.
There are some interesting early-stage companies that build data integration as a service, and they do a lot of the planning for you. They’re a bit too early-stage for our needs, but they can help enrich your product with integrations easier than you think.
SD: You were a software engineer for years before starting NomNom, which is your first company. What’s it like going from developer to head of a company?
ŁUKASZ: Oh, wow. The biggest change is that you have to step back more often than you think.
“You know when people talk about the full-stack developer? I don’t know how many stacks I’m covering right now.”
As a software engineer, you have the luxury of focusing on one thing. You own a particular part of the system, so you can fully devote your brainpower to building the best solution with the team.
But in a role like mine, you’re responsible for everything—building the software, the overall architecture, managing the team, contributing to the product, hiring and firing, the list goes on.
In Star Trek: The Next Generation, they had this 3D chess thing. Then you graduate to four-dimensional chess. It’s like that.